5 Things People With Tidy Homes Don’t Do

how to have a clean house #tidy #kitchen

I have a high tolerance for disorder. Until I don’t.

Two years ago we moved into this fixer upper. It’s a much smaller house than we had before and I could no longer hide my messy ways or sweep them under the cowhide rug, if you will.


I started paying attention to how those Tidy People lived in their homes. I observed my mom and mother-in-law. I even asked my Tidy Friends questions about their habits without trying to seem like a weirdo.

Here’s what I’ve discovered…


1. Tidy People don’t act like a slob all day, and then get their house tidy in one fell swoop.

Tidy People are smart, and know that cleaning up all at once is hard and not fun.

I’m my biggest enemy when it comes to keeping my house tidy. The number one thing I’ve learned from Tidy People is how valuable it is to develop some simple, non-drastic, tiny habits that when added together will change the level of tidiness in your home.

Tidy People are in a constant state of low-grade tidying, I don’t even think they realize it.

2. Tidy People Don’t Run out of Cleaning Supplies. They find cleaning products they love and they stock up so an empty soap bottle is never between them and a clean counter or tidier bathroom. Amen.

Y’all, I even found a Tidy Hack for this one!

Listen, if you’re ready for your home to smell tidy and fresh, like your Mom and Martha Stewart cleaned all day, then you’ll love Grove Collaborative. If you haven’t tried it, it’s the easiest thing you can do to keep your cleaning routine simple, doable and smelling like a dream.

I’m a long time Grove customer myself (three years now!) and along with practicing the tidy tips in this post, Grove is my secret weapon for keeping a tidy and clean home.

Grove offers a huge selection of high-quality natural cleaning products, and you’ll never run out of products again thanks to their monthly shipment schedule (totally optional and super flexible – I order about every 6 weeks if I’m out of stuff).

And right now, Grove is running a limited New Customer Deal that’s too good to ignore if you’re ready to tidy up:

Once you click over to Grove, your cart will auto-fill with some popular products as a suggestion. You can delete everything (but don’t delete your free stuff) and add different things to your cart, or keep everything as is. As long as you don’t delete your freebies and purchase $20 worth of additional products, you’re good.

3. Tidy People never let the sun go down on their filth. They know they’ll have to do it anyway, better now than later.

Tidy People do not watch Dancing With The Stars while there’s a sink full of dirty dishes sitting in the kitchen.

Tidy People practice the quick reset, that might mean different things to you than the Tidy McTidersons down the street, and that’s okay. Maybe for you that means getting the entire family involved right after dinner and clean up for five timed minutes of tidying.

Tidy people take a few moments each evening for a quick reset and then they watch Dancing in peace.

how to have a clean house #clean #bedroom

4. Tidy People don’t store things on the floor.

From the big decorative baskets filled with throws to the backpacks that never seemed to make it to their place. When I looked around our house, I realized that without my own consent, I was allowing lots of items to live on the floor. Tidy People know better than this.

Stacks of books, the box that should have been dropped off at the thrift store two weeks ago and the laundry basket can all clutter up the floor and make your home seem messier than it really is.

Tidy People know this secret, you’ll never see stuff stored on their floors.

5. Tidy People don’t over decorate. They value a cleared off surface more than a highly decorated surface.

Listen, I’m the biggest fan of tchotchkes that has ever been. I LOVE me some smalls and cute little decor. But over the years I’ve learned that having a bunch of pretty small things all over every surface was only making my life more difficult as someone who was already prone to being messy.

Now I’m really picky about what I allow on my surfaces. I aim for 1-3 decorative pieces per surface depending on the surface size. This allows our house to still look pretty but at the same time, it seems clean, even if there’s a layer of filth!


I’m not tidy by nature, but reminding myself of things Tidy People don’t do, somehow motivates me to pay a little more attention to making life a little easier on me and my house. It’s so worth it.

PS, Don’t forget to grab your New Customer Cleaning Kit , your future self with thank you!

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*Please note that Grove currently does not ship to Canada, Hawaii, or Alaska

*I’m thrilled to partner with Grove as an affiliate

how to have a clean house #cleaning


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  1. Annette Detratto-Chalfin says

    Keep organized…..everything has a place, shoes, backpacks etc., get the kiddos used to putting them where they belong, getting help from them for cleaning up after meals is a good time saver for Mom and Dad as well, plenty of family time and Mom won’t be so stressed out when kids go to bed and she has to tackle cleaning up.

  2. Also? If something new comes in, something old goes out….I’m constantly donating, gifting, or tossing. No matter what size home you live in, there’s only so much room (or need!) to keep stockpiling. And generally speaking, I don’t miss things that I’ve gotten rid of…if I haven’t worn something in a year or two, or I know that as much as I love the LOOK of a particular items of clothing, it just isn’t comfortable or doesn’t fit me well, then I’m honest & get rid of it. In addition to donating or gifting, I’ve also sold things on ebay or in local consignment shops. And I try and go through cabinets, closets & shed every so often (maybe once or twice per year) to give honest assessment & then reorganize/clean as needed. But as the article says, it’s an ongoing approach to life —- I stand next to the recycling container as I look through the day’s mail — and anything that requires shredding goes right into my pocketbook so that I can shred it when I get to work the next day. And anything that is getting donated goes RIGHT into my car, and I try to drop off within a day or two. Etc. When you approach life this way, it’s less work in the end! And sentimentality has to be reined in — I don’t need to keep EVERY drawing my son ever did, or EVERY stuffed animal that he loved, I can keep the most meaningful ones, or pictures of items that are special.

    • Anonymous says

      Great Ideas, but you are obviously a “Tidy person.” :)

      • Paula Wooden says

        Sometimes it seems like as tidy people are few and far between.

        • Denise Patton says

          What I hear in most of these threads is that being a tidy person somehow equates to being a neglectful parent. I am also hearing the extreme side to being “untidy” (hoarding) and extreme neatness (OCD, or some form of it), both of which are a disorder. I believe most people are somewhere in the middle. Some of us like organized, tidy homes and others could care less, things not put away, stuff out of place doesn’t bother them. Some people are just better at housekeeping than others…but it does not or should not translate into your ability to spend time with your family or a statement about your priorities or parenting skills. I for one am getting a little annoyed at people who continually try to make the case that if you are tidy and organized then you are not doing your job as a parent…..two different skill sets. If you are not a particularly good housekeeper then just own it, quit trying to justify it by saying that people who choose to be neat don’t have their priorities in line.

          • I so agree with you! I enjoy tidying up snd organizing but I don’t think I’m a bad parent just because I like to keep our house clean and neat. Even my kids know how much I detest clutter and I train them to be neat as well. It doesn’t matter how big or small your house is, if it’s clean and neat, it’s beautiful. I don’t understand why some people think that you’re not having quality time with your family just because you keep your house clean. I enjoy watching a movie with my kids knowing that I don’t have dirty dishes sitting in the sink. To each his own.

    • Yes I would say you are a tidy person…AND NOT a SENTIMENTAL person at all!! I understand I need to get rid of some things which I have had to do because we are downsizing big time… BUT when I look at an item, I see a MEMORY not just a THING! What I do believe is that if you put things back right after you use it; if you do the dishes right after dinner; if you put your dirty clothes in the hamper as soon as you take them off; if you fold and put away your clean clothes(must admit I still struggle with this one)as you take them out of the dryer; your tidy life will be easier. And if you have young children, forget everything I said and go with the flow because spending time with them is much more important than keeping a tidy house!!!

      • Anonymous says

        Take pictures of the items

      • Anonymous says

        Kids will always remember the time you spent with them and not the tidy house….

        • Anonymous says

          You can still have a tidy house and spend time with your kids.

          • Denise Patton says

            Yes, you can !!!!

          • Marilyn Read says

            You absolutely can! When your feet touch the floor, make the darn bed. Straighten the interior of the bedroom before you go to the bathroom. Follow the same ritual in each room you enter. Dirty cloths in hampers and clean cloths? Hang them up!
            Kitchen is a must for cleanliness. After eating, dishes go in dishwasher and washed when a full load. It is mindlessly easy. Develop these rituals and you have time to be the parent, partner you should be.

  3. Sandra Baumann says

    I learned after having our house on the market several times over the past few years – to make sure the house is ‘realtor ready’ every morning before I leave for work. No, our house is NOT for sale right now, but I’ve kept up with my realtor-ready attitude!

  4. Susan McCard says

    My realtor once told me that she had remarked to a potential buyer as she was showing my house: “Mrs. McCard would just die if she knew we were standing in her kitchen right now while she’s at work.”

  5. I am not a fan of Mrs. Meyers products; I prefer Seventh Generation.

    • Marilyn Read says

      Cynthia, if I ever purchase any more Mrs. Meyers, it will not be Honeysuckle. Just weak and sickening odor.

  6. Another important aspect of being tidy is cleaning up after yourself – especially when cooking. I clean up as I go, putting away the spices, washing up the used utensils and dishes and keeping the counter clean. Then after eating the clean up is so quick

    • I do this also-can’t stand to cook in a messy area or have any one in my kitchen while I’m cooking, it just throw me off my system I have going

    • I do this too and have been teaching my kids the same now they that are learning to bake and cook with me. I say “do we need the 1/2 cup anymore? nope, wash it and put it in the rack”. The worst part of cooking is the cleanup. I can’t imagine having to clean up EVERYTHING at the end, it would never get done.

  7. Tip#32 Don’t marry a hoarder. I mean, collector, fan of repurposing (someday), salvage aficionado, enthusiast “picker”, etc.

    On a completely unrelated note, please send help. Merry maids coupons are accepted with gratitude….

  8. I really need to get rid of clothing. I am not contributing much here, i need help!

    • Read these books
      Atomic Habits- James Clear ( has website)
      Better than before- Gretchen Rubin ( she has a large website of lots of help being “Better than before”! and is quite involved with her website, has podcast,2
      The Life changing magic of tidying up- Marie Kondo (pronounced Mah-ri-ah
      That should keep u busy on the road to being organized ( from the inside out)
      All the best!

    • I learned that little trick from my Dear Mother-in-law, years ago…Remember the saying” “A watched pot never boils”…She taught me to busy myself doing something ‘else’ while waiting for something to cook fry, bake or ??? …such as washing up the soiled pots/pans/utensils…cutting up the ‘next’ vegetable or ???…But, NEVER go sit down for 2-5 minutes…That way, when the meal is finished, so is most of the cookware and cleaned

    • Clothing hoarder….Only hang what you will wear THAT season…separating items such as pants/skirts/blouses, dresses/jackets, on hangers…t-shirts (in drawers) etc….Store the rest in storage boxes, BY THE SEASON…..IF it looks too old or you KNOW you will not wear it again…donate it to charity…OR close your eyes and pitch it.

  9. Sarah Kauffman says

    The best book I’ve rad on hoarding is “The Hoarder in You” by Dr. Robin Zazio.

  10. I purchased the ebook on covering furniture with Pay Pal but it would not download. How do I get the book?

  11. Sharon Ronan says

    Use the correct Japanese pronunciation that she uses. Mah ree a

  12. Being a “tidy person” isn’t that difficult, even if you are a beginner. Everything you own right now you have already “found a home” for. So begin there. CLEAN AS YOU GO and to tidy up grab something that is out of it “home” and put it there. It does not have to be a one day chore. Clean your kitchen mess as you are cooking….waiting for pasta to boil, clean the mess you made while you are waiting on the water. This practice can be used on anything. I get quick easy chores done during commercials if it is a program on t.v. I really wanted to watch. Keep i simple, keeps it clean.

  13. charmie centers says

    Our home economics teacher always said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” That’s my motto today.

  14. annette gagliardi says

    I’m a tidy person,so I see the main thing in any situation, and note that the debris around the edges needs to be cleaned up. I see that your main thing was advertising for the cleaning product company – a worthy goal, but then don’t advertise this article as a self-help thing.
    You are correct about the five things tidy people do: I do try to clean / pick up after myself as I go along and definitely do the clean sweep or reset every day. Here are a couple more. Put one thing back before taking out another. Also, everything has a place and everything in its place.

  15. I agree on DON’T sneak in advertising while claiming it is a self-help column. It is misleading.

  16. This article is spot on. I’ve been a “tidy” person all of my life and I do every single one of these 5 things every day. Therefore, it takes me 15 minutes a day to keep a tidy house instead of 3 hours every Saturday!

  17. Anonymous says

    I wish i wasn’t a lazy slob. I like a tidy house, but i work in a high stress job with plenty of hours. When i get home, i just want to crash. And weekends…i try to unwind and re-energize. I try to stay caught up, but my spouse and I are just not good at the little tips like cleaning as you go. Unless I am cooking. I can’t work in a messy, cluttered kitchen.

  18. I loved your book “The Nesting Place”. Just discovered your. A fan for life. Thank you..

  19. Connie St.Romain says


  20. I kind of agree that keeping a minimalist interior design works best. It helps me find my stuff easily and cleaning your room becomes much easier.

  21. thanks so much,very good information

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